By far, research has applauded the role of intermittent fasting for weight loss. How the process works or how effective it is when it comes to weight reduction does not have an exact answer yet. However, other studies are concluding several other benefits of fasting.
For instance, an animal study on rats learned that fasting can improve lifespan. The present research as seen on the journal, Scientific Reports, highlights that fasting can improve metabolism and also chip in help with anti-aging.
What Happens When We Fast?
Scientists from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Japan dug into the impact of fasting on metabolism. Four volunteers were asked to fast for 58 hours and the investigators used metabolomics (the measurement of metabolites) to learn about the impact of fasting on metabolism.
During the fasting phase, a number of changes occurred in the body. For one, the body resorted to gluconeogenesis for energy. Typically, the body uses carbohydrates as its primary and major source of energy.
However, as the body starves during fasting and the carb reserves are depleted, the body derives glucose from non-carbohydrate sources like amino acid. This process is what is known as gluconeogenesis.
The levels of some metabolites in the blood confirmed that the body was employing gluconeogenesis for energy. For example, there was an increase in the levels of products of citric acid cycle.
The citric acid cycle occurs in the mitochondria. Its function relates to releasing stored energy. The increase in the metabolites was noticed in the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell.
The mitochondria cells are thrust into overdrive. Plus, the levels of pyrimidine and purine also increase. These chemicals signal an increased protein synthesis and gene expression. This suggests that fasting causes cells to switch up the quantity and type of proteins that need to function.
Fasting Helps With Anti-Aging
As mentioned above, researchers noted an increase in the levels of purine and pyrimidine in the body during fasting. Higher levels of these compounds indicate that the body may be increasing the levels of some antioxidants.
In fact, there was a significant increase in the levels of some antioxidants such as carnosine and ergothioneine. On top of that, other metabolites also increase significantly in the body when we fast.
Past research has also learned that fasting increases the markers of some metabolites. Previous studies have shown that metabolites decline as the body ages. Some of these metabolites are ophthalmic acid, isoleucine, and leucine.
Fasting can help increase these metabolites. This explains how it boosts lifespan as per animal studies. Other studies, also come to the same conclusion of increased metabolites. The authors say that fasting triggers a more metabolically active state than previously realized.
With all these metabolites and antioxidant activity, fasting may help deliver a rejuvenating effect, which wasn’t known so far.
Intermittent fasting can help with not only weight loss but also boosting metabolism. By increasing the levels of metabolites, it can also amp up anti-aging efforts.